Thursday, January 28, 2016


While I am pleased to have been published on the scary mommy website on Tuesday, I am also struck by some unexpected self-consciousness, in part because I also shared a link to the article on Facebook.  I mean, getting paid to write (a hundred bucks isn't much, but it is a $100 more dollars than I had before) is what I want to do. But actually doing it, and faring the experience, is a different story.

For starters, I was surprised by my response to the several positive comments on the website - I'm not easily flattered, nor do I typically put a lot of stock in others' positive nor negative views of me. Or so I thought. I found myself more pleased and validated with commenters' notes about my story being relatable than I would have imagined. I kind of blushed, felt a warm rush, and gave myself a hypothetical pat on the back. And then I read a comment that was more critical in tone, condemning my depiction of the "one and doners." Instantly I had anxious butterflies in my stomach, re-read my words, and wanted to defend and explain myself to the reader.

And then there were the supportive and encouraging comments from friends/acquaintances on Facebook, which made me feel simultaneously pleased and uncomfortable. Let's just say I know that I would make a terrible celebrity, my nerves wrecked by the constant barrage of criticisms and opinions and pedestals to stand on.

I do feel somewhat proud of myself for going after what I want, despite the few failures and rejections I've already encountered. I mean, it's a start, right? Just because The Atlantic or NYT or Slate don't want me - yet - doesn't mean that it is not on the horizon. A girl can dream, can't she? I'm just barely getting comfortable allowing myself to dream. But, it's a start. Both for the dreaming and the writing.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

(Stuff Jo Made) - Cross Stitch Family Portrait

I finally cross stitched one for us. You can still see the lines from the hoop. I don't know how to make that go away. It may be cheesy, but I love it. Alex and my legs are deceivingly thin here. Alex's beard is on point. The Bean's hair looks great. And of course I'm wearing boots. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

( 46 Months ) 3 Years + 10 Months

"I'm three-quarters-and-a-half," she tells me, with a serious insistence more appropriate for a conversation about what she wants for breakfast.

The Bean has officially moved past being 3.5 years old, and now talks frequently about how she's almost 4. She has had a wonderful past month, including Christmas in Tahoe with her whole family, an extended visit with B and Z in Portland, and a Daddy/Daughter weekend at home.

Her teachers at daycare/preschool keep telling us how smart Francie is, that she's the most advanced in her class, the only one who knows her birthday or writes her name. My parenting ego is, of course, flattered by this praise of my spawn. But the other part of me wants to protect her from high expectations of either her instructors or of herself. I just want her to feel good about who she is where she, none of this perfectionistic, compliant, upper-middle-class white-girl business. But the thing is, she does seem really bright. Not compared to other kids, just relative to my own expectations of what she should and should not know. She seems particularly perceptive on the social front. She demonstrates a lot of compassion and kindness at home, especially in her pretend play. But I hear that she's the first friend to console her classmates at school, whether they are sick or hurt or sad missing their mommies. She has developed into quite the little girl this last month - flower girl dresses, clip-on earrings, lipstick, high heels, princess crowns, Sofia the First, Anna and Elsa ... I'm doing my best not to draw too much attention to this phase, so as not to encourage it or shut it down. Just let it pass. She still mostly plays with her dolls or stuffed animals, likes to listen to her Frozen CD (that she bought me for Christmas) on her new CD player in her room, and draw or write. She does fabulously during her hour-long quiet times, and never ever naps. She wakes us up in the middle of the night about 50% of the time right now, and earns 3 marbles if she stays in her own bed all night. She is starting to talk and interact with us, at times, like a full grown kid, mature 1:1 conversations and all. One evening she sat on my lap on the couch for 25 minutes just chit-chatting about her baking baby cousin, about wanting me to have another baby, about how she understands she wouldn't get as much attention but that's okay because she'd help with the new baby like give it bottles, about plans for who she wants to visit or play with. She certainly has a certain amount of sass and meanness in her, much like my dad tells me I was as a kid, but it's only targeted at me or Alex. While she still exhibits shyness in social situations, she also plays well with almost anyone else, or seems content to explore or play by herself. She still believes/knows that her buns are the cutest thing ever, and before bath covers her butt and tells me she has a birthday present for me, sings me Happy Birthday, then reveals her naked butt like "ta dah!" I found myself entirely infatuated with her the other week, like I just couldn't get enough. With the intensity I used to have crushes on boys in high school or college. I would just smother her with hugs and kisses, or look at pictures of her on my phone. It feels kind of good (and a little bit creepy) to be oh-so-in-love with her.

Me: "I'm feeling kind of sad today."
France: "Should you go to the feeling Doctor?"

Out of the blue: "Even when I'm sad I love myself."

Whispering in my ear: "I think you're beautiful. I love your hair."

Alex to Jo: "Wait, you wouldn't want to live across the street from my parents on Agatam, with your dad living in an ADU connected to our house?"
Jo: "No. That sounds like a lot."
Alex: "That kinda sounds like hell."
Francie: "Hell yeah!!!"

A lot of these photos are repeats from other blog posts, but I like to have my favorites all in one spot:

Family snow time in Tahoe. One of my favorite trips ever.

First foray into iPads and road trips. Then again, we were stuck in the snow.

Baking with Mimi. Shirtless, of course.

Lovin' on her Aunt Jen and Uncle Brian.

Mama, Uncle B, and the Bean.

Front yard snowman with Daddy.

Ski bunny.

Skiing with the boys - Papa, Daddy, Mama, Francie, Uncle B, and Uncle Brian.

Riding the funitel back down to Squaw.

She even went for a Round 2 after lunch.

TV time with Julian.

Christmas Morning. She looks like a cute little gnome here.

The family that onesies together has funsies together.

Decorating Aunt Zahavah with bows.

I accidentally bought her tinted lipgloss rather than chapstick. And she's wearing her designer Seven Brand outfit from Uncle B.

Mimi and Papa love.

I love that face. She's got some expressive eyes/eyebrows.

Her WHOLE flamily.

Glow in the dark mask from Vivi, and playing with Uncle B in PDX.

Some QT with Laura and Garret, netting her a bunch of new toys, including a stuffed dog she named "Eyebrow."

She must know more about NYE tradition that we give her credit - this is how we found Big Baby on New Year's.

She told me she wrote "I love you." I thought it looked pretty damned close!

New Care Bear toy from Gus and Josie.

It snowed at our house, too! And then turned to ice.

Before we popped yet another River Rat.

Heading to the park to sled with Daddy.

We clearly have different thermostats - I'm bundled in a down jacket and knit blanket, she practically nakie.

Just a regular pee.

Playdate PDX with Harlow and Monroe.

Her new "Kinny dog" outfit from Laura and Garret.

Hosted our first playdate, with Charlie and Iris.

She makes Mama's glasses look good.

She wrote Beebee a card.

Somebody was eavesdropping on our bedtime routine.

Lunch date with Daddy - and she ate that WHOLE bowl of mac n cheese.

She shares my love of puns.

46 month photo shoot.

I had to capture her current go-to dress-up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

(Just Pics) - Babies, Brides, and Barfing

Each, Jo, Erika (not "the" dress), Hannah, Katie and Cindy (tuning in to cry via FaceTime).

Erika and Karl got engaged just before Halloween, and are planning to marry at her dad's place in Washington this August. We planned a quick girls' weekend during the MLK holiday to visit her place in Marin County and make her feel the love before she ties the knot. We went wedding dress shopping, played with Baby Hannah, guessed Rach's brewing bean is a girl, and .... I barfed. A lot. In the most violent of ways. Apparently I should have never made that Bridesmaids movie reference when we were at one of the bridal shops. My bad.

I was grateful to be able to participate in at least the dress shopping that netted E's final choice, and glad to be in a comfy house with a bathroom I could call my own. Especially since I spent nearly a full night calling the bathroom my bedroom and praying to the porcelain gods. So.NOT.Fun. I haven't been that homesick in ages. But at least I found myself able to cry again. And my friends spoiled me with trips to the store for ginger ale and vitamin water and were even good sports about skipping brunch out in Novato in favor of cooking a "bridal brunch" at the house. Needless to say it was not my best of vacations, but definitely with the best of friends.

Oakland airport arrival, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

First does stop, bee-you-tee-full bride.

White fabric abounds. But who's she kidding anyway?!?

E asked us in a creative and sweet handmade photo album to be in her wedding party. Our kids already all said 'yes' to their flower girl/ring bearer roles.

The ladies.

Quick drive-by to the Full House, and then my parent's "Scott Street" house in SF.

I'm watching you.

Hannah and Erika.

Feeling badly for myself.

My Saturday night digs.

My Bean totally inherited my pun-y sense of humor.

Hannah, 6 months going on 2 years.

Brunch at home. I actually ate something - Rach's coffee cake no less.

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